The Tours with the Best Snorkelling in Aitutaki
A tropical wonderland like the Aitutaki Lagoon simply begs for snorkelling among its clear turquoise waters. While there are several decent snorkelling spots just off the beaches of Aitutaki, they simply don’t compare to the schools of giant trevally, giant clams and coral bommies found across the greater Aitutaki Lagoon. The best snorkelling spots can be accessed through snorkelling tours, otherwise known as lagoon cruises. Discover which lagoon cruises are best for snorkelling in this list of the best snorkelling tours on Aitutaki.
Before we begin, get inspired for more experiences on the islands with the 20 Best Things to Do on Aitutaki.
1. Kia Orana Cruise
A lagoon cruise for the adventurous and for those who want to do a lot of snorkelling, Kia Orana Cruise is well worth considering. Join “Captain Fantastic” for an adventure on a small-group tour, stopping by shipwrecks and coral bommies hiding giant clams and giant trevally. Visit where they filmed “Shipwrecked” on Moturakau, stop by the sandbank, Tekopua then the famed One Foot Island. You’ll then cross the lagoon to Honeymoon Island, Tavake then Maina for lunch.
The small-group cruise is best for couples and adult groups looking for a more adventurous snorkelling tour on Aitutaki. Cruises depart at 9am and operate Sunday to Friday.
2. Teking Lagoon Cruises
With a maximum of 10 passengers, Teking Lagoon Cruises is another small-group option where snorkelling is at the heart of their “Snorkelling Safari Tour”. Visit four of the lagoon’s motu (islands) and three vibrant snorkelling spots where the focus on ecology and conservation allows you to get more out of the experience. Your experience also includes a refreshing island barbecue on Maina Island, as well as a visit to Honeymoon Island and the infamous One Foot Island and its sandbank. Tours are approximately five hours, departing at 9am. Accommodation transfers are included.
Although most clientele are couples and adults, families are welcome on the cruise with staff on board even happy to look after younger ones while you go for a snorkel at the deeper spots. Private charters and sunset tours are also available.
3. Black Pearl Charters
Perhaps more renowned on Aitutaki for their fishing charters, Black Pearl Charters also offer fantastic private charters for snorkelling in the Aitutaki Lagoon. Their half-day snorkelling tour hits three exciting snorkelling locations, as well as stops by the islands of One Foot Island and Honeymoon Island. Enjoy morning tea as part of the experience, as well as guided snorkelling where your guide explains the different fish and corals seen. All in all, Black Pearl Charters offers one of the best personal snorkelling experiences on the lagoon.
4. Kutekute Tours & Transfers
See the lagoon in a whole different light on a private snorkelling tour with Kutekute Tours & Transfers. Departing in the late afternoon (usually around 4pm), their “Sunset Lagoon Cruise” takes you to a mix of exciting snorkelling spots with giant trevally, giant clams and/or the Purple Wall. They are also the only snorkelling tour on Aitutaki that offers a twilight snorkel.
The tour also includes a stunningly presented beach picnic platter on the uninhabited Moturakau as you watch the sunset before returning to the mainland after dark. This tour is utterly romantic for couples, but groups of three to six are also welcome to take part, as well as families.
5. Bishop’s Cruises
The snorkelling tour with the largest boats on the lagoon, Bishop’s Cruises either has you on their 16 pax boat with a minibar or their 45 pax catamaran with a minibar, changing area and toilets. The upper deck of their larger vessel allows for an elevated view of the lagoon topside, while stopping at various snorkelling spots allows you to admire the underwater world below the surface.
Enjoy six hours on the lagoon including standing on a heavenly sandbank and making an obligatory stop at One Foot Island. Indulge in a barbecue lunch under the shade of the company’s hut on the island and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring One Foot Island at your own leisure. Drop-offs at One Foot Island, as well as half-day and full-day charters are also available.
6. The Vaka Cruise
Definitely one of the most photo-worthy boats on the Aitutaki Lagoon, The Vaka Cruise takes place on a Polynesian-inspired double-hulled vessel. The snorkelling tour is a popular option with day trippers to Aitutaki, as the lagoon cruise of choice when booking a day tour with Air Rarotonga. Those staying on the island, however, still benefit from accommodation transfers.
The six-hour cruise offers plenty of snorkelling time with giant trevally, giant clams and all sorts of tropical fish. You’ll also set foot on One Foot Island and enjoy an island-style lunch on the boat. The cruise is popular with all traveller types, but is especially recommended for families, older travellers and those with minor mobility issues, as the large boat is one of the easier on the lagoon to embark and disembark.
7. Wet & Wild
You have two exciting options for snorkelling with Wet & Wild: either in the lagoon on your own private charter or outside of the lagoon with humpback whales. All lagoon snorkelling tours are private, with your choice of sightseeing, snorkelling, island-hopping and the unique options to try wakeboarding or inflatable tube rides off the back of the boat. Alternatively, join their three-hour whale watching and swimming tour between July and October, taking you out to see the gentle giants beyond the reef.
Wet & Wild are pretty flexible, so let the team know what you want to do and they’ll likely have the gear to give you an awesome alternative experience on the water. Find out more about their whale tour in the 7 Best Whale Tours in the Cook Islands.
8. Bubbles Below
Swap snorkelling with tiny tropical fish with snorkelling alongside majestic humpback whales with Bubbles Below. This dive shop in Arutanga offers incredible whale swimming tours in the season. Either join their two-hour “Whale Excursion” or a more personalised experience on their two-hour private whale charter. Either way, you have the opportunity to spot whales on their yearly migration from Antarctica and see them from both above and below the surface.
9. Mona’s Lagoon Charter
Join the locals for a fun and active full-day or half-day charter on the lagoon with plenty of opportunities to snorkel. Mona’s Lagoon Charter is another popular choice for couples, with the full-day tour including four to five snorkelling stops and four to five island stops, depending on what you feel like. A barbecue lunch on an island is part of the experience, as well as refreshing coconut juice and water.
10. Ru’s Lagoon Cruise
The only glass-bottom boat on the Aitutaki Lagoon, Ru’s Lagoon Cruise offers more ways to appreciate the underwater world of the lagoon than just snorkelling. Look out for turtles, giant trevally and giant clams through the boat’s floor and jump in the water yourself for snorkelling. You’ll stop by motu to relax and have a good tropical feed with a barbecue lunch and fresh fruit.
More About Snorkelling Tours in Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
Now that you know about the best snorkelling tours in Aitutaki, how about finding more snorkelling spots across the Cook Islands?
- The Best Snorkelling in Aitutaki: Top 10 Places to Snorkel
- The Best Snorkelling in the Cook Islands: Top 10 Places to Snorkel
- 10 Best Places for Whale Watching in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, plan more of your itinerary using the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List.